There’s certainly a bold new galaxy out there and Sunday’s premiere of Star Trek: Discovery left no doubt that it’s going to be something familiar, yet very different. It will be Star Trek as we’ve never seen before, and that’s exciting. I think it’s exactly what we were hoping for with this latest incarnation of the beloved Star Trek realm. The season-opener demonstrated a sleek, crisp and broad style that delivered the vastness of space in all its wonderful scope and color, while keep us anchored in the world and issues we have so enjoyed over the last 50 years.
And I’ll be honest, anything that starts with a Klingon leader calling for unification of the “great houses” of the empire to beat back the advances of their enemies (the Federation) is going to be something I enjoy from the get-go. Love how he spit out the words “We come in peace.” That’s a Klingon with some attitude. And who doesn’t love that?
It’s interesting, but I saw several other reviews of the season-opener Sunday night and appreciated the thoughts of those writers, but I wanted to let this kind of percolate a little in my mind and soul. I’ve been on this voyage through all the TV series’ and movies, so wanted to slow play this a little as I pondered what I saw, felt and heard Sunday night. Me feelings are that opener delivered the kind of welcome that will keep everyone coming back for more. It had “wow,” it had thoughtfulness, it had interesting characters and it had plenty of “what’s next?”
And while I enjoy a good Klingon war council as well as the next Trek-lovin’ soul, I think what really struck me as the most pleasant aspect of the opening was that we met two women who were in positions of authority right off the bat – and owned it. Their relationship, which had a strange twist at the end, was built on a palpable mutual respect while each carried their own vibe onto the bridge.
Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green as her first officer, Michel Burnham, created a wonderfully unique dynamic that was on full display in the first episode. I could watch Yeoh do a garbage bag commercial and be captivated by her, but I know less about Martin-Green. What I saw of her Sunday left me feeling very good about her work and about the complexity of the character she will play moving forward. You can tell already, she’s got a lot going on in that mind, particularly with what appears to be some Vulcan training behind her. The Star Trek world has had strong female characters throughout its run (Hello, Captain Janeway, Kira Nerys, Jadzia Dax, etc.), but these two were something different, something more intense and powerful.
The show is ostensibly supposed to orbit around Martin-Green’s character and throughout the first episode, and particularly at the end, you could see an intensity and determination that is both powerful and a touch dangerous. After her conversation with Sarak about how to deal with the Klingons (remember, it had been more than 100 years since the Federation had been exposed to them face-to-face), I could see the righteousness of her cause, but also why Capt. Georgiou would think that course of action was not wise.
Toss in a ready room Vulcan nerve pinch and we have a bit of a strain on the relationship.
Sunday’s episode introduced us to a host of characters — some for long segments, others for a brief moment. Building a true Star Trek world, the kind we’re all used to, will take time and commitment — from not only the studio but from the legion of viewing fans. There’s a lot to process here and I think one of the dangers of being a Star Trek fan and having some sense of this world already (remember, this is 10 years before the Kirk-Spock-Uhura run), it’s easy for people like me to try and get ahead of ourselves. Again, I counsel patience and time to let this season play out and see where it leads us.
The first couple of episodes will air on regular the regular CBS channel before it’s all delivered to CBS All Access, a pay service. It’s an interesting move, but one that appears to be paying dividends immediately. According to a Deadline Hollywood story, Star Trek: Discovery drove a record number of single day signups to CBS All Access in anticipation of the start of the series. Episode 2 of the show is already available on the streaming service.
I’m not a huge fan of this. I tend to think of the Star Trek realm as a holy vessel in the public domain. But given the passion that Trek fans have and their dedication to the older shows and an obvious curiosity with anything new, the subscription viewing route makes a ton of sense. In the Star Trek world, if you create it, they will most assuredly come. And judging by what we saw Sunday night, I think the journey throughout the season will be one that was worth it.
Star Trek: Discovery opened its account with a very well-done effort. There’s good work going on here, good work that is certainly going to be under a great deal of scrutiny. Our Klingon antagonist, T’Kuvma (Played in a wonderfully matter-of-fact way by Chris obi) looks like he’s going to be a real pain in the Federation’s backside after having the Beacon of Kahless lit. There’s a passionate malevolence in this character, tinged with a real desire to save his people from their selfish, dishonorable ways. If that means war with the Federation, so be it. I’ll be interested to see where this character ends up by season’s end.
The show demonstrated that there is a commitment to quality that will benefit us all. This appears, at least for now, to be a worthy addition to the Star Trek realm, one that will have the resources necessary to tell the stories that way we want them told. And I think that’s important. Quality acting, great visuals throughout, and an interesting opening hour left me feeling “yeah, this is going to be really enjoyable.” We’ve got the Klingons and the Federation about to square-off in what looks like a shooting war. Our first officer is in the brig and all hell’s about to break loose. Honestly, I can’t wait for more. How about you?
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